Duke University has secured a U.S. government contract worth up to $43.6 million to develop a rapid, gene-based test for radiation exposure.
The test, which is slated to be ready in 2012, would aid medical officials responding to the detonation of a dirty bomb or a nuclear attack.
The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded the contract to Duke Medicine in part because of growing concerns about a nuclear or radiological terrorist attack, Dr. John Chute, the Duke physician overseeing the project, said in a press release last week.
Chute, who specializes in adult bone marrow transplants, said he sees the damage radioactive material can do to the human body first-hand.
Duke applied for the funding in April, and that proposal was chosen through a completive process, Chute said.
“It’s a big deal. It’s a lot of money.”